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October 4, 2023

How Has the Rise of Remote Work Changed Employee Relocation Benefits?

  • Corporate relocation


The rise of remote work has brought a transformative shift in employee relocation benefits with 27% of companies citing expansion of remote work as a factor impacting relocation.

On one hand, corporate relocations are, in part, being fueled by a rising sentiment amongst company leadership to see employees back in the office. On the other hand, voluntary relocations are being driven by those wanting to fully embrace the freedom and flexibility they have found in remote or hybrid structures.

Amidst these changing dynamics, we have examined the evolving landscape of relocations based on recent data from Atlas’ 2023 Corporate Relocation Survey.

In 2022, 67% of relocation requests were declined by employees, one of the most notable indications of a shift in workplace attitudes and a need for employers to revisit relocation assistance policies.

The landscape of employee relocation benefits has undergone significant changes due to the rise of remote work, leading to diverse trends in corporate and voluntary migrations.

Understanding these internal and external factors is essential for companies seeking to navigate the evolving landscape of employee relocation benefits in the era of remote work.

How Employee Relocation Benefits Continue to Shift

1. Reduced Demand for Traditional Relocation Packages

With more companies embracing remote work and distributed teams, alternative assignments are typically used in place of traditional assignments. Since employees can work from anywhere, many may choose to stay in their current location or move to a place of their preference, rather than accepting a full migration package at a preset location.

Fully remote workers have the freedom to choose where they want to live for reasons other than where they work. For many, they are seeking a lower cost of living, access to hobbies/lifestyle, or to be closer to family. In 2023, 39% of companies expect an increase in permanent voluntary relocations, 46% are expecting similar numbers to 2022, and 11% are expecting to see a decrease. This signals that employees are looking to take control of where they move to, making traditional relocation packages less desirable.

In the past, when an organization needed to transfer an employee to a different location, a comprehensive package was commonly provided. This package included various predetermined benefits. However, employees now have the freedom to choose their work location based on personal preferences.

Organizations are now more likely to offer alternative benefits or support options for remote employees, such as remote work allowances or localized compensation packages based on the cost of living in the employee's chosen location.

2. A Rise in Location-Based Compensation

In response to the growing prevalence of remote work, an emerging trend in employee incentives is the adoption of location-based compensation models. With the realization that employees can effectively contribute from various geographic regions, some forward-thinking companies have recognized the need for more equitable and localized salary structures.

Location-based compensation entails adjusting an employee's salary according to the cost of living in their chosen work location. This means that employees residing in high-cost-of-living areas, such as major cities with expensive housing markets, may receive higher salaries compared to those in regions with a lower cost of living. By aligning salaries with local market conditions, these organizations can provide fair compensation packages that align with each employee’s cost of living and financial requirements .

This approach helps address potential disparities in purchasing power and living standards across different regions.

Salary cost-of-living adjustments can also act as a strategic tool for attracting and retaining talent. Businesses operating in high-cost areas may find it challenging to compete for talent due to the relatively higher expenses associated with living in such regions. By offering competitive salaries that account for local living costs, these companies can improve their ability to attract and retain skilled professionals who may be hesitant to move to costlier regions without appropriate compensation adjustments.

Conversely, businesses with offices in lower-cost areas can leverage location-based compensation to offer more competitive salaries compared to their higher-cost counterparts. This can be particularly appealing to job seekers and employees who prioritize a lower cost of living and a potentially higher quality of life.

As remote work continues to redefine the modern workforce, location-based incentives will likely continue to be a key element in most compensation packages for years to come.


3. Additional Flexible Relocation Benefits

Companies are beginning to shift away from traditional relocation packages towards more flexible and personalized benefits. Many employers are starting to see that a one-size-fits-all approach to a location change may not be suitable for the diverse needs and circumstances of all their employees. As a result, businesses are now adopting more tailored and adaptable compensation benefits to cater to everyone’s unique situation.

Instead of offering a fixed set of benefits, companies engage in open discussions with employees to understand their individual needs. This may involve the size of their family, existing housing arrangements, schooling requirements for children, and personal commitments.

Reimbursement for moving expenses is one of the most common components of flexible relocation benefits. Rather than providing a pre-determined sum, companies work with employees to determine their actual moving costs, which can vary significantly based on the distance of the move and the volume of belongings. This personalized approach ensures that employees are adequately supported during the relocation process.

Temporary housing allowances are another flexible benefit that companies may provide to migrating employees. Instead of automatically offering fixed-duration temporary housing, organizations tailor the duration and type of accommodation based on individual circumstances. For instance, an employee with a shorter-term project assignment may receive temporary housing for a few months, while someone relocating permanently might need longer-term accommodations.

Furthermore, flexible compensation benefits may include support for spousal or partner employment opportunities and career transitions. Companies may explore job placement assistance or networking resources to help the transitioning family members find suitable employment opportunities in the new location. The adoption of flexible compensation benefits demonstrates a more employee-centric approach to talent management.

By acknowledging the diverse needs of their workforce and offering personalized relocation support, businesses can enhance employee satisfaction, reduce the stress of moving, and foster a sense of commitment to the organization.

4. Additions of Remote Work Stipends

Remote work stipends are financial allowances provided by companies to support their employees' remote work setups and create a conducive home office environment. As the prevalence of remote work continues to increase, many businesses have recognized the importance of ensuring that their remote employees have the necessary tools and resources to work efficiently and comfortably from home.

Remote work stipends typically cover a range of expenses associated with setting up and maintaining a productive home office. These allowances can vary depending on the company's policies and the specific needs of the remote work arrangement. Some common components of remote work stipends include:

  • Internet Services
  • Home Office Equipment
  • Software and Tools
  • Communication Devices
  • Home Office Supplies
  • Office Space Enhancements

Based on our data from the 2023 Corporate Relocation Survey, 32% of participants noted technology requirements, such as internet speed and security, as a remote work constraint. This is where remote work stipends to cover technological barriers would become a great asset to offer.

By providing financial assistance for remote work-related expenses, companies can alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with working from home and enhance employee satisfaction and productivity.

As remote work continues to evolve and become more common, remote work stipends are likely to remain a valuable tool for companies seeking to attract and retain top remote talent while ensuring their employees have the resources needed to succeed in a remote work environment.

Expand Your Corporate Moving Packages with Atlas Van Lines

Atlas Van Lines offers comprehensive and customizable corporate relocation moving services to streamline relocating while working remotely. With over six decades of expertise in the moving industry, we understand the unique challenges that companies face when relocating their workforce.

Our flexible services cater to the specific needs of each employee, providing a range of services such as professional packing, secure transportation, and storage options. Whether it is a local or international move, our team of professional movers ensures a stress-free experience for your employees, allowing them to focus on their new roles with peace of mind.

Trust Atlas Van Lines to support your mobility needs. Get your free quote today and discover the Atlas difference.